A Week With The Best: Keith Laverty

Today on A Week With The Best we have Keith Laverty! Keith is a Northwest native and Mountain/Ultra/Trail (+road!) runner for Seattle Running Club-Brooks team, Team 7 Hills, and Hüma Gel. Every single time I show up to a race thinking I may have a chance to win it and spot Keith in the distance warming up, my new goal becomes to hang with him as long as I can before he drops me. No joke. This recently happened at Beacon Rock 25K where he took the course record and put 7 minutes on me throughout the race!

Keith has won over 45 trail races in the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, BC) including the competitive Gorge Waterfalls 50k. Recent highlights include 8th at 2015 U.S. Trail Half Championships, 11th at 2016 Lake Sonoma 50-miler in 7:13, 9th at 2017 Chuckanut 50k in 4:03, and 2nd at 2017 Mt. Hood 50k in a blistering 3:22. On the roads, he’s run 32:13 for 10k and 1:11:09 for the Half-Marathon. He’s also a former walk-on runner at University of Oregon, but ask him what it’s like to be a pro and he’ll respond with “I’m certainly not a true pro runner.” There are only a few things that outshine his race results: his genuine, down to earth attitude, his love for his family, and his humble demeanor.

Thanks for joining us, Keith!

How did you start running?

My parents convinced me to check out the track team during my sophomore year at Woodinville High School, after I had run the school’s fastest 1.5-mile course for P.E. At the time, I had convinced myself that soccer was my best sport but alas, here we are!

What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?

Lately, my biggest challenges have been: 1. Learning to reign back my racing schedule for career longevity, and 2. Prioritizing/balancing my training regimen while still being a new father, husband, and supporting my family. Being there for my family comes first and foremost, before my training wants/desires, so both my wife and I have really learned how to balance our lifestyles to still pursue our running goals while at the same time, being there for our families and our new little mountain baby, little Luke.

As far as my racing schedule, I pretty much want to do everything under the sun including trail and road events. These days, there’s just too many great opportunities to choose from, but it’s also key to maintain a stable racing schedule (in both # of events and volume of those events) as my longest term goal is to stay competitive well into my Masters division years.

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

Ironically, as someone who spends a lot of my spare time being outside and running, I work in the gaming industry as a QA Project Lead, to help publish and maintain gaming apps on iOS and Android platforms for EA (Electronic Arts). I have found this has struck a good balance however and my job allows me to keep a consistent training schedule in addition to being a run commuter. Yes, my office does have a shower and locker room, so this makes life much easier! I technically have 4 different run sessions on a typical weekday – 3 commuter runs and 1 main training run/workout.

What is your favorite workout?

A hilly fartlek consisting of 5,4,3,2,1,4,3,2,1,3,2,1,2,1,1 minutes on with usually 1 minute jog rest in between. I like that it is broken up into so many chunks, varying between a tempo pace or to 1 minute speedy interval. This workout encompasses a lot of different systems of tempo work, hills, speed, and strength.

Favorite Shoes?

The Brooks Mazama 2 (releasing this December). Crazy grippy, lightweight and comfortable. They feel FAST.

 

Dogs or Cats?

I grew up with several dogs and cats at the same time – tough one! Dogs can be great running companions but with cats being mostly self-sufficient at home, that can make things logistically easier.

Describe and days general diet for you:

I love just about all food and always willing to try new ones.

Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ peanut butter, berries and honey. Cereal. Latte or americano.

Lunch – Turkey and avocado sandwiches, chicken teriyaki or leftovers.

Late afternoon snack (this one is key, otherwise my afternoon/night session will suffer!) – Trail mix, tangerines, Huma Gel or bars.

Dinner – Usually whatever my amazing wife cooks up. Lately, it’s been Mexi bowls with black beans, rice, onions, mushrooms, avocado and chicken or tofu.

Dessert / Midnight Snacks, if baby Luke wakes us up – Rice Krispies with berries or Pop Tarts.

An example of a week from your training log from the past few months:

(Two weeks before Mt. Hood 50k)

Mon –  4 miles easy/recovery day after a high volume weekend

Tue –   6 miles bike commuting

             7 mile hilly training run with baby stroller + strides

Wed –  6 miles run commuting

            Wednesday Workout: 3 long hill repeats + 2 x 1000, 2 x 800, 2 x 400, 2 x 200 on the                track (7 miles total)

Thu –  3 miles run commuting

            7-8 mile training run

Fri –    7 miles easy; typically my 2nd easiest day of the week

Sat –  16 mile hilly long run (mix of trail/road) with last mile cutdown in under 6 minutes

Sun – 7.5 mile road training run with a few pick-ups / strides

Do you have any tips for new runners or runner striving to reach bigger goals?

Remember to keep it fun! Even when you’re in the middle of a big training block, or during a race, remember why you love running in the first place. For example, I like to incorporate one group run each week (Bainbridge Island Weekly Beer Run!) even during big training blocks to keep things relaxed and fun. Or during tough sections of a race, I’ll remind myself to smile and being thankful for being healthy, injury-free and able to explore the trails that I’m on.

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of self-care. Go to those PT appointments, get chiropractic adjustments, get occasional massages, and use a foam roller regularly.

 

 

Thanks for your insight, Keith! Keep kicking ass!

 

If you or someone you know is a pro who would like to be featured on A Week With The Best, shoot me an email at: upperleftdt@gmail.com

 

 

A Week With The Best: Jacob Puzey

Wow! It’s been a while since we posted one of these! This blog really fell by the wayside with our recent relocation to Ashland. Sorry about the delay here, Jacob! This evening we’ve got Jacob Puzey. Jacob is a lifelong runner, coach, race director, and writer. Despite a slow early start to running, Jacob gradually improved over time and has since won national titles in cross country and on the roads and set a world record of 50 Miles on the treadmill at an average pace of 5:56.  Jacob coaches athletes from all over the world, of all ages and abilities – from newbies to national champions – to help them achieve their running goals.  

How did you start running?

I started running in middle school to get in shape for basketball.   

What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?

I was uncoordinated.  I was weak.  I couldn’t run upright.  I was awkward – 4’11”, 85 pounds, and size 13 feet.  I wanted to be better, but my body felt like it was getting in the way.

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I coach athletes from all over the world and help my wife, Amy, direct a national trail running series throughout Canada.

What is your favorite workout?

Georgetown 400s – A cruise interval workout with a high volume of 400 meter intervals with minimal recovery at a good clip.  Here is an article describing it: http://www.jacobpuzey.com/2014/07/managing-tempo-run-with-cruise.html

Describe a days general diet for you:

I try to not eat animal products before I run as they tend to take longer to digest and clog things up for me.

Morning – Herbal tea, nuts and dates or raisins, apple and nut butter, or oatmeal. I usually eat this throughout the morning as I work.  If I go for a run in the morning then my post run meal will likely be heavier and contain some animal products like eggs.

Lunch – Avacado or nut butter toast, more nuts, cucumber, etc.

I usually run in the afternoons.

Dinner – Starch (rice, potatoes, etc.), Veggies (zuccinni, spinach, kale, etc.), Protein – Steak, chicken breast, fish, etc.

An example of a week from your training log from the past few months:

Mon – Recovery day – easy run about 6 miles or OFF, YOGA, CORE

Tue – Easy day – About an hour of running often pushing a stroller or running with the dog (7-10 miles)

Wed – Workout – Usually something stamina based

Thu – Easy day – About an hour of running often pushing a stroller or running with the dog (7-10 miles)

Fri – Recovery day – easy run about 6 miles or OFF, YOGA, CORE

Sat – Long run or medium long run (90 minutes to 2 hours) + Strides

Sun – Long run or medium long run (90 minutes to 3 hours)

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big, scary goals?

Be patient and think long term.  Establish a strong foundation upon which you can build. It’s all about the base:  http://www.5peaks.com/news/2016/2/5/its-all-about-the-base

 

Thanks for joining us, Jacob!

If you or someone you know is an elite athlete or coach, feel free to shoot us an email @ upperleft@gmail.com to be featured on A Week With The Best.

 

A Week With The Best: Masazumi Fujioka

Today on a A Week With The Best we have Masazumi Fujioka. Masazumi is as humble as they come, but don’t let that fool you when he toes the line with you at your next Ultra.

Masazumi was born in 1971 (45 years old) and is a Pacific Northwest based Trail and Ultra Runner sponsored by Team Seven Hills. He has won and placed in many Northwest races and national Ultra races as well. Some of his best times include 1st place at Sun Mountain 50 mile (2015) 1st place at Zion 100 (2016) 1st place at Orcas Island 50k (2016 and 2017) and 3rd place at H.U.R.T 100 (2017).

Thanks for joining us, Masazumi.

 

How and when did you start running?

I liked any kind of sports and especially soccer when I was young, but I had never been a track and field athlete. In my mid-30’s, I was too busy at work and gained weight. Believe it or not, I was heavier by 40 pounds than I am now. I started running in 2008 for health.

Your biggest accomplishment ?

Personally, it’s H.U.R.T 100 this past January. The race is well known in Japan and has many Japanese participate every year. I became the first Japanese male podium finisher in its 17 years’ history

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I am a software engineer. I have never thought I am a pro in the sense that I am not running for a living. A good thing is that I am working from home and have no need to commute. That enables me to work without curbing time for training.

Describe a days general diet for you:

In general, I eat carbs at breakfast and lunch, and protein at dinner. I drink a little, but only on weekends.

  • Morning
    • 2 slice of bread with banana, almond butter and raspberry jam
    • orange juice
    • coffee
  • Lunch
    • Either ramen, soba noodle or okonomiyaki
    • Small ice candy
  • Snack before and during workout
    • cookies
  • After workout
    • chocolate soy milk
  • Dinner
    • large salad
    • soy food such as tofu or natto
    • meat (chicken or pork) or fish (salmon etc.)
    • yogurt with fruit

What’s a typical training week like for you? An example from your training log:

Except for  the weekend, I normally train in the evening. Below is a typical training week during daylight saving time.

  • Mon … Rest
  • Tue … 13 mile road run (effort: hard) + 1h elliptical machine
  • Wed … 13 mile road run (effort: easy or moderate) + 1h elliptical machine + core strength exercises
  • Thu … 13 mile road run (effort: easy or moderate)  + 1h elliptical machine
  • Fri … Interval run (3 min x 6) + road run (effort: easy) + 30min elliptical machine
  • Sat … 20 mile trail run (effort: easy or moderate)
  • Sun … 13 mile trail run (effort: easy or moderate) + 0.5 h cross training + core strength exercises

I use treadmill heavily instead of going out to run in soggy cold winter.

What is your favorite workout?

Running in a mountain under the sun with nobody in sight!

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?

The thing I always ask myself is “what is the goal ?” That makes it easier for me to figure out what to do to achieve the goal.

The goal will vary among runners. It can be to run as many races as possible, as fast as you can or anything. For me, often it’s to do my best run in one or two target races in a year. Running all the races in top performance is difficult especially when you get older, like me, as it takes more time to recover. By finalizing my “A” race, I can plan when to take a rest, start building up my base, increase volume and bring myself to the peak condition. That increases the probability of reaching my goal.

 

Thanks for sharing, Masazumi!

 

If you are or know a pro runner or industry pro who would like to be featured in our series, please e-mail me at upperleftdt@gmail.com and be sure to check out the hashtag #Team7hills on social media.

*Featured image by Glenn Tachiyama

A Week With The Best: Sion Lupowitz

Today on A Week With The Best we have Sion Lupowitz, fresh off of a 3rd place finish at the competitive and rugged Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance run!  Sion grew up in Corrales, New Mexico, but now lives and trains in Tucson, Arizona which is surrounded by four mountain ranges. Sion runs for Aravaipa Running, Honey Stinger, Squirrel’s Nut Butter and Bioskin.

Some of his tops performances include 1st place at the 2016 Stagecoach 100M in 17:42:17, 1st place at the 2014 and 2016 Old Pueblo 50M in 8:48:10 and 8:05:41 (New CR respectively), 1st place at the 2016 Inaugural Oracle Rumble 50M in 8:10:17, 1st place at the 2016 Cedro Peak 45M in 6:56:53, and 2nd place at 2015 Mogollon Monster 100M in 26:05:00 which was his first 100 miler! He also summitted Blackett’s Ridge (we used to train on together on this ridge in Tucson) an astonishing 100 times in 2015. That’s 170,000 feet of rugged vert! Not counting the other 265 days of the year. The dude is a monster.

 

How and when did you start running?

I started running as a kid. Don’t all kids run?! In high school I ran track and cross country. While I wasn’t very fast at any of the track meets, I thrived during the long training runs. That was a telling sign of what was to come! Following high school, I didn’t run a step for over 10 years. My life kinda spiraled out of control during my twenties and I began going on short runs as a means of escape. My sister talked me into running a half marathon and while the idea of running 13 miles seemed insane, I was game. I managed to quit smoking and focus on training. When I arrived at the start line of the race, I knew I had found my home! I was later introduced to trail running and ultras. That was simply a life changer and I haven’t looked back.

 

 What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?

Keeping that mental edge. Sure running is physical, but it is also very much mental. Training for long races takes a lot of time and dedication. Sometime I don’t feel like running! But, thats what separates me from being an average runner to being a great runner.

Gotta keep that edge!

 

Your biggest accomplishment ?

My biggest accomplishment has to be winning the Stagecoach 100 miler just five minutes shy of the course record! It still hurts knowing I was that close, but that was an incredible feeling finishing that race.

 

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

While I do enjoy the spoils of comped races and free gear and snacks, I am yet to hit the big time. I work full time in the medical field to pay my bills.

 

Describe a days general diet for you:

Hopefully a lot of pizza.

 

What’s a typical training week like for you? An example from your training log:

 

Mon – Rest

 

Tue – 8-10 miles with 1,500 plus vert

 

Wed – 8-10 miles with 1,500 plus vert (depending on what I am training for. This could also be a spadework day)

The – 10-12 miles with 2,000 plus vert

 

Fri – 10-12 miles with 2,000 plus vert

 

Sat – 12-15 miles with 3,000 plus vert

 

Sun – 15-25 miles with 3,000 plus vert

 

What is your favorite workout?

Running up steep stuff.

 

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals? 

Don’t make running a business, enjoy the ride and always remember that we do this because we love it.

 

Thanks for joining us, Sion!

 

If you are a pro runner or industry pro who would like to be featured on this weekly blog, please shoot me an e-mail at upperleftdt@gmail.com

 

*Featured image by Howie Stern Photography

A Week With The Best: Joe Gray

Today I ran the Whidbey Island Half Marathon in 01:15 and all I could ask myself was “How the hell did Joe run this in 01:09???” So I decided today would be a good day to share his interview.

Joseph Gray is a 21 Time Team USA member, 11 Time USA National Champion, 2 Time Xterra Trail Running World Champion , the 2016 World Mountain Running Champion and a 5 Time NACAC Mountain Running Champion with the consecutive record.

How and when did you start running?

In middle school to stay out of trouble basically!

What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?  

I think finding time to prepare for races. There are so many awesome races that pop up and many of them are very different in terrain and challenges thus, it’s difficult to train for all of them to perform at your best

Your biggest accomplishment ?

A long career of winning and being consistent at major events.

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I currently coach privately.

Describe a days general diet for you:

My diet is really based on cravings! I regularly eat Electrobites and Garden of Life protein after extremely tough days.

What’s a typical training week like for you? 

 

(Joe does not like to share his training. The secret’s in the sauce, as they say.)

What is your favorite workout?

Progressive tempos.

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?
I think the best advice is to stay in your lane! Be concerned with your training and your personal goals and avoid trying to mock the training and goals of others. It’s easy to see social media posts about someone and to be influenced to try something that is not genuine or perhaps you aren’t personally prepared for, so be natural and follow your path at your own pace. Being smart will allow you to have a long career

 

Thanks for that short and sweet interview, Joe!

 

If you’re a pro or know a pro who would like to be featured on A Week With The Best, please reach out to me at upperleftdt@gmail.com

 

A Week With The Best: Maria Dalzot

Welcome to A Week With The Best! This week we have PNW runner Maria Dalzot. Maria is a trail and mountain runner sponsored by La Sportiva, BioSkin, Native Eyewear and Trail Butter. A few of her career highlights include winning the 2011 NACAC Mountain Running Championship as well as the 2014 USATF National Trail Half Marathon. She is also a multi-time U.S. mountain team member and constantly wins races throughout the Pacific Northwest.  

Thanks for joining us, Maria!

 

  • How and when did you start running?

Running has always been my life’s passion. When I was a kid I ran circles around the yard for fun and tag was my favorite game in gym class. I started running competitively in 7th grade cross country when I was 11 years old. I remember the day leading up to my first race I was so nervous; I felt sick to my stomach and distracted from school work. “This is awful,” I remember telling my mom. “After I get this race over with, I’m never doing it again.” After the race, I was buzzing with elation, and asking when the next race was –I couldn’t wait! Fast forward 18 years, and I am still nervous, still addicted, still in love with the buzz, and still in pursuit of my best.

  • What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?  

My biggest obstacle as a runner is overcoming my anxiety. Through the years running has provided me relief from obsessive, scary thoughts and has calmed my monkey mind. The trails have been an escape from the stress of life and a way to refocus and prioritize. But sometimes running is the cause of my anxiety and leaves me dead in my tracks, stranded on a mountain top shaky and unable to breathe. It is a constant challenge for me to overcome such debilitating feelings to keep pursuing what I am most passionate about.

  • Your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment is never giving up. Over the last 18 years of training and competing I have had too many injuries to count: stress fractures, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, strains, pulls, tears, broken bones, foot reconstruction surgery and bunion removal. Despite so many set-backs and heart breaks, I still get up every morning with determination to reach my goals.

  • You’re a pro, but do you work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I am a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science. I have a private practice, Maria Dalzot RD, where I work with people of all ages and disciplines to help them reach their health and performance goals. http://www.mariadalzotrd.com/

  • Describe a day’s general diet for you:

Food is a major priority in my life. I usually eat 4 large meals a day in lieu of snacking. I do not have any intolerances or sensitivities so I eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, fiber, dairy and seafood. I cannot live without bananas, apples, yogurt or nut butter. I must eat these things at least twice a day.

  • What’s a typical training week like for you?

Mon: Strength training followed by 8-9 miles

Tue: 8-10 miles easy

Wed: 12 miles with 8-mile tempo or progression

Thu: Strength training followed by 8-10 miles

Fri: 8-9 miles easy

Sat: 20-24-mile trail run

Sun: 8-9 miles easy

Mileage: 70-80 miles a week

  • What is your favorite workout?

My favorite workout is one that we used to do in college all the time at West Virginia University, the famous 90-60-30. It is a fartlek of running 90 seconds hard with 90 seconds off, but keeping the ‘off’ pace honest. After four sets, cut to 60 seconds on, 60 seconds off. After four sets of 60, run 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds off, and then finish with four times 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off. I do a lot of long, controlled tempos and so this workout takes me back to being a kid and just running hard. It’s also easier mentally, because you can do anything for 90 seconds.

  • Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?

My advice to new runners is to give yourself grace. Running is not a linear progression. Embrace the lows and learn from them. With so much sharing on social media and Strava, it is hard not to compare yourself to other runners. I encourage you to look for others for inspiration, but you need a diet, a training plan, a coach and shoes that work for you, and only you can determine what is best for you.

For more stories on Maria’s running journey visit her blog at http://mariadalzot.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Instagram @mariadalzot and Twitter @mariadalzotRD.

Thanks Maria!

 

If you are or know a pro runner and would like to be featured on our blog, please shoot me a message at upperleftdt@gmail.com

A Week With The Best: Mario Fraioli

Today on A Week With The Best we have Mario Fraioli, author of one of my favorite running publications, the morning shakeout. He runs, writes and coaches in San Francisco and has given me some of my favorite tid-bits of advice while I’ve built my business here at Upper Left Distance Training. He’s an all around good guy and I am super pumped to have him on the blog this week!

Mario, Introduce yourself and a few of your biggest accomplishments.

I’m Mario Fraioli, a running coach and writer with an insatiably curious mind.

As a coach, I’ve helped runners reach their first finish lines, personal bests, Boston Marathon qualifying times, national championship titles, Olympic Trials appearances, international podiums, world championship teams, national records, and even the Olympic Games. I’ve been fortunate over the course of my own running career to train under some excellent coaches, whose influence has inspired me to help others achieve their goals.

I share my thoughts on running and other topics that interest me in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter that goes out on Tuesday mornings. From 2010-2016 I was the senior editor at Competitor magazine and I’ve worked on numerous other projects in both the running and media spaces. In 2013, I authored The Official Rock ‘n’ Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training.

As an athlete, I was a cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in Massachusetts and have raced competitively from the mile to ultramarathon distances, with personal bests ranging from 4:09 in the mile to 2:28 for the marathon.

 

How and when did you start running?

I started running cross country my junior year of high school to improve my endurance for basketball. That was 20 years ago and I really haven’t stopped since. Before that, as an eighth-grader, I ran my school’s “Walk For Technology”—the idea was to raise money for a new computer lab by completing as many laps as possible around the schoolyard in an hour (we solicited family and friends to give us a set amount of money for each lap completed)—because there was a trophy for the person who could do the most laps. I figured I had a better shot to win the prize if I ran the entire time—and I did.

 

What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?  

Not letting it take over my life. It has at various points, and in retrospect, running wasn’t super enjoyable during those times because I was so results-driven that I failed to appreciate the process and find joy in it. Fortunately I’ve been able to overcome that, but it wasn’t an easy road.

 

Your biggest accomplishment ?

Taking what I’ve learned through my own journey as an athlete and using those lessons as a coach to help others navigate similar paths, overcome the same obstacles, and/or achieve things they never thought possible.

 

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I’ve never run professionally or made a living off of appearance fees, prize money or sponsorships. My full-time job is coaching runners and writing about running/related topics.

 

Describe a day’s general diet for you:

Pre-Run: Usually a glass of water, small cup of black coffee and a bar of some sort. Before harder workouts or long runs, I wake up a little earlier and have some Generation UCAN in addition to the above.

Post-Run: Medium size bowl of cereal (Trader Joe’s Honey Nut Os) with whole milk; breakfast burrito (2 scrambled eggs, rice, spinach, salsa); banana

Lunch: Sandwich: 2 slices of rosemary olive oil bread with turkey, provolone cheese, half an avocado and a pinch of salt. Bag of Kettle brand Sea Salt potato chips

Snack: Small bag of trail mix and a piece of fruit (pear, peach, apple, orange or whatever is in season)

Mid-afternoon: Small cup of black coffee

Dinner: Fish, chicken or beef (always some sort of protein), green salad with avocado, tomato, cucumber, pomegranate seeds, side or rice or quinoa and roasted vegetables

Post-dinner: 3-5 dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and a 2-4 squares of dark chocolate

What’s a typical training week like for you? An example from your training log:

Monday: Easy Run: 30 minutes or OFF

Tuesday: Easy Run: 60-75 minutes + drills/strides

Wednesday: Workout (intervals, hills, tempo or some combination thereof): 75-90 minutes

Thursday: Strength Training at the gym (60:00) followed by an Easy Run (60:00)

Friday: Easy Run: 60:00 + drills/strides

Saturday: Workout (intervals, hills, tempo or some combination thereof) or Long Run: 2:00-2:30 w/intervals, tempo or progression mixed in

Sunday: Long Run: 2:00-2:30 easy if did workout on Saturday or Easy Run (60-75:00) if did harder long run on Saturday

 

What is your favorite workout?

It depends on the day but I love a session of 8 x 800m on the track at ~5K pace with 2:00 recovery between reps. Another favorite is a 4-mile tempo run followed by a set of hard, fast hill repeats (8 x 30-60 seconds with 1-2 minutes recovery between reps)

 

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?

Set a goal and forget it. Focus on the process. Work on becoming a better, stronger athlete in addition to becoming a better runner. But most of all, enjoy it! If you’re not having fun, find a different activity.

 

Thanks for joining us, Mario!

If you’re a pro runner or industry pro and would like to be featured in a Week With The Best, please shoot me an e-mail at upperleftdt@gmail.com

Cheers!

A Week With The Best: Ian Sharman

We are excited to launch our new blog series here at Upper Left Distance Training: A Week With The Best. Every Sunday we will be posting a short interview with various pro runners and industry pros for a glimpse into their busy lives.

This week we are joined by Ian Sharman. If you run Ultras, then you know who he is. Ian is a British ultra runner sponsored by Altra, Clif Bar, Drymax Socks, Julbo Eyewear, Ultraspire, Squirrels Nut Butter and OS1st (compression gear). Living in Bend, Oregon, he is the founder of the Altra US Skyrunner Series and professional coach/owner at Sharman Ultra Endurance Coaching where he’s coached winners of Comrades, the 100k World Championship, Western States, and Leadville.

He’s run over 200 marathons and ultras winning over 50 of them, including first place finishes at the Leadville Trail 100 and Rocky Raccoon 100 (multiple times). Ian also holds the record for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (the combined time for Western States 100, Vermont 100, Leadville Trail 100 and Wasatch Front 100 in a single summer). 

If that’s not an introduction, I don’t know what is! Thank you for joining us, Ian.

How and when did you start running?

I started in 2005 after living and working in London in the UK for a few years after seeing a TV documentary about the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert. I’d always been sporty but wasn’t as active as I wanted to be so this set a spark in my mind and I started running, finding I loved it and so got hooked on races very quickly.

What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?  

Finding time to fit things in is always a challenge, especially since I’m not an early bird so I rarely run before noon, with most runs after I finish working for the day, or squeezed in-between coaching calls. It’s definitely a challenge when 100-mile races usually start before dawn.

Your biggest accomplishment ?

The Grand Slam was the toughest thing I’ve ever attempted and it was more draining psychologically than I could ever have expected. It’s one thing to run 100 miles when you’re fresh and haven’t done something that tiring for several months. But it’s another thing to do it multiple times in rapid succession when you can still vividly remember the suffering from the last race.

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

Yes, I work around 60-80 hours a week on coaching and Skyrunning, plus my training is on top of that. I love working with runners and doing something I’m really passionate about.

Describe a day’s general diet for you:

Overall I eat most things, except peanuts (I just don’t like them, but used to be allergic to them). I try to minimize processed food and eat fresh produce often, but don’t eat perfectly because it drains the fun out of life to have an overly restrictive diet. So if I can eat well 80-90% of the time I can afford to be less healthy the rest of the time, while still enjoying food and life.

What’s a typical training week like for you? 

This varies so much depending on what type of race I’m training for, especially since I love running roads, trails, mountains, jungles, deserts or whatever. But in peak training I may reach around 80-100 miles/week with up to around 20,000ft of vertical gain. As I get closer to a race my training becomes more specific to the factors involved in the race, such as hiking, heat-training, speed etc.

What is your favorite workout?

Downhill reps speed session on a 1-mile downhill in town at about an 8% steady gradient. I jog a few miles for my warm-up then run down it hard at my 1 mile pace, which means hard! Then I jog back up for recovery and do around 3-4 miles of downhill reps in total with the final one as the fastest. Then a jog home.

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?

The simplest is to enjoy the ride and not rush into super hard or super long races. Every big step up in distance or difficulty should be for an inspiring, awesome race so you can keep motivated during the tough sections.

Thank you, Ian!

 

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Cheers!

(Featured Image by Paul Nelson Photography)